The 2013 Detroit Auto Show has come and gone but it has certainly left its mark. The editors of CarBuzz have picked their top 5 production-car debuts from this year's event.
The Detroit Auto Show is always a big deal when it comes to new car reveals. Automakers, particularly American ones, regularly time the release of an important new model to coincide when the show opens its doors every January. And this year was no different as the likes of Chevrolet, Cadillac and Lexus all had important debuts. Those cars will be vital to each brand's reputation now and in the years to come. So the CarBuzz editors have put together this list of what we felt to be the most significant new production car reveals at this year's show.
This one is clearly a no-brainer. The all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is finally here. Powered by a new 6.2-liter LT1 V8 with direct injection, it delivers 450 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque and mated to either a seven-speed manual or six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Chevy claims it can go from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds and that it's even faster than the outgoing C6 Z06 track-focused version. While the traditional Corvette shape is still intact, the C7's styling is quite a departure than the outgoing C6 and could arguably be the most dramatic-looking production Corvette in history.
Lexus went to great lengths to make its new IS not bland. You see, Lexus isn't typically known as a design powerhouse but it's always managed to build fine luxury cars. The new IS is unquestionably the most dramatically styled mass production Lexus ever (not counting the LFA). Available in rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive, power comes from either a 2.5- or 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Along with the high-performance IS F Sport, Lexus believes it finally has the car to take on the benchmark BMW 3 Series.
It's remarkable how much the Cadillac ELR looks like the Converj Concept that inspired its styling. But its internal guts come from the Chevy Volt. Powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that works in conjunction with a 1.4-liter gasoline engine, this luxury range extender is also loaded with lots of high-tech goodies. Riding on a set of 20-inch wheels, the ELR features plenty of LED lighting and a dramatic dash design. Pricing will start at around $55-60,000 when it hits showrooms early next year.
Want to go fast and look good at the same time? The new Audi RS7 is the answer. Starting off with the already gorgeous A7 Sportback, the German automaker threw in a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 560 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. All that power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. As well as managing 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph, the RS7 could also be the most beautiful Audi in recent history.
The all-new CLA is fresh territory for Mercedes-Benz. Unlike the larger CLS four-door coupe, the CLA is front-wheel-drive and is based on the new A-Class. With its svelte lines and frameless windows, power comes in the form of a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected inline-four that delivers 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque that's mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch. Combined with optional 18-inch wheels and Mercedes' COMAD infotainment system, the automaker is clearly gunning after buyers who'd normally never look at the brand. Welcome to the era of entry-level luxury.
Honorable mention has to go to former GM product czar Bob Lutz's latest mad man venture: the VL Automotive Destino. Wrapped in the sexy body of the Fisker Karma is the Corvette ZR1's LS9 V8 that packs 638 horsepower and can be mated to either a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic. Set to be built in Auburn Hill, Michigan, the Destino will carry a base price of around $180,000 when it goes on sale later this year. Mark our words: it will be worth every penny.